New Tendencies in Mexican Art

Rubén Gallo

Rubén Gallo analyses art from the 1990’s to discuss Mexican culture during a decade of extreme social and political change. Within this deconstruction Gallo examines the work of Fernanda Brunet and her tendencies towards orientalism:

“Artists from around the world seem to have arrived at a post-national stance. More then a specific cultural context, recent works tend to reflect the condition of living in a globalized world. Where lifestyles – and artistic styles – are gradually becoming the same.

The case of Mexico, however, was slightly different. It was not that young artists had renounced making reference to all national cultures, but merely references to Mexico; in fact, works from this periof teem with references to other cultures and other nations. While there are no pyramids or jungle landscapes – as that Italian editor observed – there are plenty of sumos, geishas, Buddhas, yogis, Chinese characters, and Japanese words, and these works are undeniably inflected by a fascination with al things Asia.

Here are a few examples of Mexican artists born after 1965 who devote works to Asian themes: Fernanda Brunet made a series of small-format paintings of geishas and courtesans taken from Japanese comic books […]; Yishai Jusidan […]; Pablo Vargas Lugo […]; Rodrigo Aldana […]; Edgar Orlaineta[…]

But how are we to decipher this peculiarly Mexican version of orientalism? What does this explosion of interest in Eastern religions and Asian imagery have to do with Mexico? Why does this orientalizing tendency appear at this specific point in the history of Mexican art? How does it relate to larger aspects of Mexican culture? Does this tendency have anything to do with Mexico’s foreign relations with Asian countries? Are we to read it as a comment on the fate of culture in the age of globalization?” p20-21

Rubén Gallo, New Tendencies in Mexican Art, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2004

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